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How To Beat Seasonal Depression In 4 Easy Steps

a tree in fall and spring

How do you feel when the warm months start to disappear and the cold dark days arrive?

Do you feel less like your moderately cheerful self, heavy like someone dropped a water-filled log on you while you were sleeping and you can’t get it off, or do you just feel tired and can’t quite figure out why?

If any of these sound familiar, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—a type of depression that occurs as the seasons change. Often referred to as ‘seasonal depression.’

SAD is a real condition that affects millions of people each year. But how can you beat it?

The good news is that there are several ways to combat seasonal depression and get back to feeling like yourself again without breaking the bank or relying on prescription medications.

4 Simple Steps to Beat the Winter Blues

Step 1: Acknowledge How You’re Feeling

pile of cubes showing different emotions

You know your body well so you’ll be the first to notice when you’re feeling a bit off.

Yes, off days do happen sometimes, however, if those off days last for more than a few days or a week then it’s time to stop everything and listen carefully to your body.

Something is triggering this feeling and even though you may not know what that thing is right away, know that it’s important to take a moment and acknowledge how you’re feeling.

Once you take the time to attend to yourself, you can start doing something about this feeling, which is the next step.

Step 2: Go Outside

yellow flowers In front of hills

It’s no secret that natural sunlight and being in nature help to turn around the blues.

Studies have shown that spending just 10 or 15 minutes outside in nature each day can make a big difference in how you feel mentally and emotionally.

So, go outside and take a walk, explore your neighborhood, sit in the park, or lay out on the grass – do anything that will help you reset and reconnect to nature and yourself.

This step is a practical step, so unlike the first step, you can’t just imagine yourself outside and feel the benefits. You need to physically go outside and breathe in the fresh air, outside.

I’m a homebody, especially when the weather starts changing. My body doesn’t like the cold and I do anything and everything to stay away from it.

That type of behavior doesn’t always work out to be the best decision, so I have to force myself to venture into the outside world, even if it’s just for a ten-minute walk.

I understand the difficulty of going outside when all you want to do is stay wrapped in bed under some thick blankets.

Stay away from the bed and dark spaces, they only enable seasonal depression to take over.

So, put on something warm, lace up those boots and go for a walk.

Step 3: Focus on Something You Enjoy

Since your brain can only fully focus on one thing at a time, allow it to focus on something you really enjoy.

Things like reading a good book, playing an instrument, taking a hot bath, writing in your journal, exercising – anything that sparks some happiness in your life, do it now and do it often.

Allow yourself to be fully immersed in that activity so that the depressive thoughts or feelings can’t creep in.

This is how you will slowly retrain your brain to focus on positive things and how you will slowly start to feel a bit better.

Step 4: Slow Down

We’re conditioned to go fast, faster, and even try to be the fastest, but going fast is detrimental to our mental health.

Slow down!

It’s okay to stop, breathe, and allow yourself to get some rest.

Hit the pause button and give yourself permission to do nothing.

Don’t be scared of how much time you’re taking off because it could be just what you need to get your head in a better place.

The winter months are usually the months where we feel we have to do everything, achieve every goal, and go a million miles per hour because the year is ending and the New Year is quickly approaching.

Don’t do this to yourself another year.

Don’t succumb to the pressure of having to be productive all the time. It’s okay to let go a bit and take care of yourself.

Take a few hours, days, or a week off and re-energize yourself so you can start fresh.

The best way to beat seasonal depression is by refocusing on yourself and taking care of YOU.

You may be doing way too much and that pressure you feel is only going to make your mental health worse.

So take a break and shift the focus back to yourself.

It won’t be easy, but with some practice and daily work, you can beat seasonal depression for good!

Bonus Tip: Plan Ahead

Start planning how to beat seasonal depression before it even starts.

It will be difficult to think of things you enjoy doing while you’re in an upside-down mood so make a list of everything you enjoy doing and start incorporating them into your day.

When you start to feel a little off, go for a walk and then grab your list, pick one thing and dive deep into what you enjoy.

For example,

If your joy is cooking, cook your heart out and then share it with the people you love being around.

If you’re an artist, draw, paint, write, dance, and do what makes your brain happy, then either keep it to yourself or share it with the people who see and appreciate you for being exactly who you are.

It’s imperative that you only surround yourself with genuine people, the ones you feel safe around. Their presence will remind you that you are alive and living your life, even if it feels like you may be stuck in a temporary loop.

By taking the initiative to plan ahead, you can be proactive in understanding your emotions when they start to change; this will empower you to effectively manage these feelings before they become too much.

Seasonal Depression Can Be Managed

Everything in life is temporary, even life itself is temporary.

Allow yourself to believe that no matter what’s happening in your life, everything will always work out for the best.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with the darkness, allow yourself to redirect it and use it as an opportunity to welcome more positive energy into your life.

If you’re feeling the effects of seasonal depression now, do these simple steps to help yourself get back to positivity.

It’s a simple redirection of energy and you have all the power you need to make it happen.

In the comments below, let me know what you’ve done in the past to stop seasonal depression in its tracks.


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Questions You May Have

Can seasonal depression be fixed?

Yes, seasonal depression can be managed with the right tools and techniques. It may take some practice but utilizing the steps outlined in this article will help you to beat seasonal depression for good.

What is the main cause of seasonal depression?

Seasonal depression is caused by a combination of factors including decreased sunlight, shorter days, chilly temperatures, and an increase in stress levels. Additionally, seasonal changes can trigger hormones that lead to depression.

How can I prevent seasonal depression?

The best way to prevent seasonal depression is to take time for yourself each day and do something you enjoy. Additionally, plan ahead and make a list of activities that you can do when the seasonal depression starts to set in. Finally, surround yourself with positive, supportive people who will remind you how much potential and how much love is out there for you.

How can I stop winter depression?

The best way to stop winter depression is to make sure you are getting enough natural sunlight and that you are engaging in activities that bring joy into your life.

How do you fight SAD?

The best way to fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is to practice self-care and make sure you are doing activities that bring joy into your life.

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Jody is a creative writer, artist, graphic designer, and a digital nomad who also helps people live more fulfilling lives by finding creative solutions to their personal growth and development problems and lifestyle challenges.

16 thoughts on “How To Beat Seasonal Depression In 4 Easy Steps”

  1. Kirsten Smith

    Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I sometimes get Seasonal Depression! Let so recently but some years are awful. Being outside really can help, even if the weather is awful, there’s something amazing about fresh air. Allowing yourself to slow down is a great tip! SAD lamps can also help!

    1. Jody

      Fresh air is magic! Thanks for sharing about the SAD lamps Katherine, I’ll definitely check them out.

  3. Nicolle

    Thank you so much for sharing this, such an important topic. Spending time in the sunshine really helps. In the past years, I tried to go away to catch some sun rays over New Year and it made a huge difference. Also having a morning routine and evening routine helps a lot and yes to doing something that brings you joy ;-))))

    1. Jody

      I know a lot of people who struggle with seasonal depression without knowing what’s affecting them so it truly is a very important topic. And yes routine does help a lot. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Nicolle.

  4. Whitney Stewart

    This post is very much appreciated you have no idea. I suffer from cross contamination OCD and often have mild doses of high anxiety and depression. And unfortunately the holiday season has been a source of negative emotional triggers over the last couple of years. I hate that because I love Christmas and spending time with my family, but it happens to a lot of people and just those that suffer from a mental illness. This post has some really good advise too! I’ll definitely hold onto it for next year as well! Thank you so much!

    1. Jody

      Your comment warmed my heart Whitney, I am happy that I was able to help in some way.

    1. Jody

      I hope my article helps you out of this rut

  5. Riyah Speaks

    Going outside and focusing on positive moments in my life definitely help with managing my seasonal depression. Great post!

  6. Julie Russell

    Very informative article for those with seasonal depression! I love the doing something for yourself part because it seems to help in many ways. I look forward to reading more articles!

  7. Great tips, thanks for sharing. For the last 10 years or so I’ve lived in warmer climates that don’t have as drastic of seasons so the effects are definitely different.

  8. Whitney Stewart

    Never once have I heard of the term ‘seasonal depression! But it makes a lot of sense after I read this. For me, winter seems to be the time of year when I feel more down and have less energy. This’ll be the perfect voice to keep me focused on my mental health for next season! Thanks so much for sharing!

  9. Gayle Ward

    This was great with a lot of great tips. I think I totally miss the plan ahead part. I normally realize what it is once I’m in the midst of it.

  10. Thanks for all the tips to help with seasonal depression. I especially like your idea of making a list of things you enjoy ahead of time.

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